Dan the man from Downingtown land is back with another single plus music video serving as a lead-up to his upcoming album. Titled “Make Sure I’m Not Dead,” this track serves as a more outsider rock-driven counterpart to the first single released two months prior, “My Kind Of Normal”, itself a compelling experimental electro rock piece. Met with “overwhelmingly positive” response by the artist’s own omission, Dan is continuing to branch out into a more distinct individual with each track. While those familiar with the individual would more likely know him for his contributions in the local punk and metal scenes, Dan is showing his growth and talent for fostering other creative sides of his music with this new venture under this name, DAN FROM DOWNINGTOWN.
We open on a rather innocuous apartment scene with Dan and his buddy Frank drinking a couple brewskis and planning the day before Dan introduces two mystery pills that he got from a “dude with a black beard and glasses”. Frank “can get down with that” and away they go – a drug-fueled romp around the town during another listless day. This backdrop appropriately supports the ennui and restlessness represented through the music’s energy and lyrics (as well as the green screened madness acted out by our protagonists). Patient piano strokes, subtle synth drones, painless percussive hits, and even some strings set the stage for delicately pleading vocals that build through the first half. When things kick into gear with guitar feedback, everything opens up to effortlessly release the tension. Guest guitarist on the track Steve Knecht brings an appropriately punky distorted lead to cut through the denser mix. Those strings, however, come back to have the final hoorah, really selling the desperate ballad angle of the piece.
Being only a teaser of more to come, Dan has plans to continue to release music under the moniker DAN FROM DOWNINGTOWN, even beyond this forthcoming album. While undoubtedly an artistic departure from his norm, it is always worthy to explore one’s reach as an artist, to walk all the way to the walls of imagination on every side. This track is also only one part of the entire concept planned for the album, but he is purposely secretive as to what that concept is. I suppose one will have to listen for themselves to find out once it’s out. In the meantime, you can find DAN FROM DOWNINGTOWN on TikTok continuing to release short form content before a third and final single comes out before the upcoming album.
And now for Jammerzine’s exclusive interview with DAN FROM DOWNINGTOWN!
You were mainly involved in punk and metal groups before now, right? What first caused you to step outside your norm musically-speaking?
Honestly, I just wanted to try something new. I will always love and have a great respect for punk, metal, and rock as a whole. But there’s a lot of staleness, and common cliches in those genres. I think in order to create something new, you have to both learn from your influences and try something different. Or to put it simply, it’s good to learn the rules if you want to break them.
Have you had to change any of your habits or routines as an artist now that you are stepping out into the limelight? Or, what skills have you had to hone while working solo?
I’ve noticed that I’ve had to make more time for social media, and the “frontman” side of things. When I was just the drummer in a band, I could just write my part of the music, record it, and then do whatever. The workload was split evenly between me and the other bandmates. Now everything is all on me. And it’s a lot. The biggest skill that I have in my arsenal right now is “time management.”
What lessons carried over from your previous band experience? Or perhaps just one really good one!
I’ve got three great lessons for everyone reading:
Don’t worry about what other people are doing. Just be you!
Come into the recording studio prepared, and ready to nail it in one take.
Don’t forget your bass drum pedal when you leave for tour, unless you want to take a beating from the other band mates.
What artists have most helped influence you as an artist?
I could make a list of 100+ different artists that have influenced me over the years. But to keep it short, I think that The Beatles are the greatest band, David Bowie is the best songwriter, and Slipknot has the coolest sound. I also really like some of the newer “underground” genres, like trap metal and hyperpop.
What’s the most recent thing you did in an act of self-care, whether for yourself or someone else?
That’s a loaded question considering the subject matter of my last EP, haha. I think aside from putting my feelings into art, talking about things with my friends has been a big help. I had a bad experience with therapy when I was a kid, and ever since I’ve kind of sworn it off. But I do think that there is value in voicing your feelings, and being self aware about them. Don’t be afraid to let the world hear you. Even if you do it while hiding half your face, haha!
What albums and/or bands have you been really digging recently?
For the last few months I’ve been listening to an unhealthy amount of Deftones, Ween, Ghostemane, and Dashboard Confessional. It’s only a matter of time before I dye my hair green and start an “Alttiktok” channel, haha!
What’s one piece of advice you can give for other creatives out there?
Be yourself! That is both the simplest, and most complicated advice there is to give. There’s an audience for everything. All you have to do is find it.
What’s next for you musically? Where can people see and/or hear you?
My music is on pretty much every streaming platform. And if you want to watch me be an idiot for some reason, I am also on Tiktok and Instagram (@danfromdowningtown). As far as what’s next, I would say, “Expect some new music in the new year!” Until then, I’ll be posting on social media, and doing this whole recording thing!
Any closing musings?
In a game of H.O.R.S.E, sometimes a simple free throw will win the game!
Featured image by Dominic Delore.